What began as a potential makeup hack has turned into a full-blown health conversation, as TikTokers advise their audiences to put Vaseline in the corner of their eyes to prevent watery eyes.

The search for “watering eyes” has now gathered more than 92 million views on TikTok and medical experts say that the trend can be helpful if done correctly. However, if it isn’t, it’s potentially harmful.

TikTok is notorious for being a social media platform that encourages people to voice their innermost thoughts — from mental health spirals to general health concerns.

How did this start?

To table set, one issue people online have sought relief from are eyes that water, or tear up, for seemingly no reason. Various users in the last year have posted videos asking for tricks to prevent their eyes from watering during cold or dry weather, when walking in the wind, or simply to prevent eyeliner from smearing.

“Can anybody explain the phenomenon or the makeup mystery that is the watery eye corner?” TikToker @julesontherox says in one video. “I can’t be the only one who has experienced this. Like, when the outer corner is so watery that nothing adheres to there — no concealer, no eye shadow… nothing sticks… What is that? How do we fix it?”

“My eyes water nonstop every time I go outside,” another user says in a video. “Everyone thinks I’m crying all the time… If it’s a really windy day like today, nonstop flowing.”

Last year, TikToker @yazmoore appeared to post the solution: a simple hack that involves dipping a Q-tip into Vaseline and placing a small amount at the corners of the eyes.

“All you need is just some Vaseline, and then little cotton buds,” she says. “My makeup used to run really badly, because my eyes were so watery. All you need to do is just apply [the vaseline] to the corner of your eyes. Try not to poke yourself in the eye. That is literally it… Try this out, this works.”

Since then, the trend has gained thousands of views and likes, with more people posting videos in response claiming it fixes the problem. 

“Saw a video of a girl putting Vaseline in the corner of her eyes before leaving the house to stop the eyes from watering and it’s been the BEST thing TikTok has taught me,” one video states.

Another video claims that using Aquafor — a mix of petroleum jelly and other ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin alcohol and glycerin — also does the trick.


This trick and the migrane trick. Suprior and it works #fyp #viral #relatable

♬ الصوت الأصلي – انمار جاكسون

Replying to @sannah 🕊🤍🌸 THIS CHANGED THE GAMEEEE #wateryeyes #wateryeyeshack

♬ original sound – Diya ♡

Vicki Chan, an ophthalmologist with more than 500,000 followers on TikTok, even espoused the trend: “I definitely see how this works. By putting a little bit of Vaseline here on the corners, you’re basically creating a barrier, so that the tears don’t come out.”

What happens to your eyes?

However, the trend sparked a backlash from some users, with another viral video by TikToker Michael Grullon noting, “applying Vaseline on the corner of the eyes to prevent watery eyes is the best hack to get milia and stye.”

Milia involves the buildup of small, white cysts on the skin around the eyes and styes occurring from an infection in the oil gland near the eyelashes.


Yay we are back to the vaseline hacks on the eyes … #skincare #beauty

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Eye health experts also expressed caution. 

While Vaseline itself may be harmless to apply on the skin, it may cause irritation if it makes its way into the eye — especially if a person has a pre-existing eye condition. Additionally, it’s important to apply it in the most sterile way possible — using a Q-tip, and using Vaseline that hasn’t been touched.

“It’s essential to be cautious when applying any substance near your eyes,” skincare company Doctor’s Formula said in a statement addressing the trend. “Make sure to only use a minor amount of Vaseline and avoid getting it directly into your eyes. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, it’s best to wash your eyes with water and discontinue use.”

Since the skin surrounding the eyes is notably thin, the application of Vaseline in the area “may elevate the likelihood of developing milia if used too frequently,” the Supplement Doctor continued. “So, while this new trend can be considered a quick-fix, it’s not an ideal long-term solution for those who suffer with watery eyes.”

TikTok has become the de facto source for health information for younger generations, where numerous health trends — spanning from bed-rotting to hormone-balancing — have taken root.

Still, as health trends continue to cycle on the platform, physician influencers have increasingly stepped in to counter much of the misinformation surrounding the trends.